Life of 6

The rarity of triplets

I found out recently that among my multiples’ group of friends, I was the only one to have conceived triplets naturally. It made sense now the reactions of medical professionals when I informed that it was a natural conception and they still did not believe me. Simply because it was just that rare! The doctor who did my very first ultrasound berated and falsely accused me of taking fertility drugs when I told him I don’t even take pill supplements. My friends and family members insisted the ultrasound must have been mistaken. The information that the triplets were naturally conceived was just too much for anybody to take at that time. It was too much information for my husband and I even to take: we kept going back in our heads what exactly went wrong.  How did we land ourselves in this situation? The only conclusion we came to was that I ate too much broccoli (which of course isn’t a rational reason).

Singapore only sees 8 triplet pregnancies a year, and from what I understand, most and possibly all of them were aided by fertility treatments. In the U.S., the statistics revealed that 1 in 8000 pregnancies were triplets, but we do not know how many of those were natural. There have been 3 cases where parents have conceived two sets of triplets naturally – a 1 in a 1,000,000 event.  The article convinced me that who is to say that would not happen to me.  In fact many of the Instagram mamas who had triplets, went on to conceive twins for their second pregnancy.

Something so unknown and so rare is very hard for our brains to handle. We want an explanation.  A scientific reason.  A possible rationale to explain how these things come to be.  I bet the girls are going to ask me one day how they came to be? And if they, too, were at risk of conceiving triplets since my conception has made it part of their permanent DNA and the genes of our future progeny.

Truth is there is still little we know why this happens.  Even for twins.  There are a lot of explanations how hyperovulation occurs, but there is little information about how identical twins occur and how high order multiples occur without fertility treatments. Until then, I guess those of us who had spontaneous triplets are just really freaks of nature.

3 thoughts on “The rarity of triplets

  1. Hi Ermita! I am one of your ’30 regular blog readers’! I live in Brisbane. Australia and my twin boys are about the same age as your little girls. I found your blog when I was casting around for multiples ‘tips’- and although I don’t have 4 young children, at the time I was alone with 2 infants (my Army husband deployed to the Middle East for 12 months when the boys were 16weeks old- crazy times!) and I also have 2 older stepchildren, so I was very interested in your coping strategies.

    Anyway, I get really annoyed when random strangers ask me if I’ve had IVF. There is a lot of shame/secrecy around fertility treatments and those who have been through it have often had harrowing journeys. And it’s nobody’s business! What if I went up to someone and said “So, how did you end up in that wheelchair?” – I’d be condemned! But of course I wouldnt ask that: yet somehow it’s ok to ask a mother of multiples intimate, personal questions.

    I have an interesting perspective on multiples – I’m a twin myself (and my twins were born on our birthday so all four of us share the same day!) so I have heard all- ALL- the twin cliches about a million times my whole life long. Damn ‘mono-births’- just shut up, already!

    Anyway, Ermita, you are doing a great job and you ROCK!
    Take care,

  2. Also, I mean to add, I would never, ever, ever compare having twins with having triplets (you are in a different league to me entirely)- so the very next person who tells me that having two babies a year apart is ‘the same as having twins’ or someone who has 3 children separately over 3 or 4 years ‘is the same as having triplets’ I may just slap in the face…

    • Dear Fiona, Thank you for coming out of the woodwork to write me a note and for your nice message. Hahaha I love the word “mono-births”! Your perspective is so interesting being a twin and parenting twins. I love meeting parents of multiples – they just get it. I’ve still got so much more to learn and discover. Hopefully, I keep writing about it. Its been slow around here…in the physically tiring day to day sense. So nice to hear from you.


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